The Interesting Prepaid Shift To Data Only Buckets For Smartphones

Over the last few years, apps on smartphones such as Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. have become hugely successful, especially among teens and twens. While I was one of the few just 5 years ago who used the mobile Internet on my daily train tips there are now only few without a smartphone in their hand or a notebook on their lap. In other words, use of mobile devices has significantly changed during that time, away from voice and SMS towards Internet based applications. Prepaid tariffs, however, have not, at least not until recently.

No matter to which network operator I turn in Germany, most prepaid tariffs are a bundle of included voice minutes, SMS messages and a few hundred MB or a GB or two for Internet access. Many people today, however, do not need endless amounts of voice minutes and SMS, they are communicating mostly via the Internet. In effect they need to pay for something they don't use. But now things are changing. In the last couple of weeks I have seen two offers that let prepaid subscribers chose the number of voice minutes, SMS and the amount of data traffic per month independently of each other. The number of voice minutes and SMS can even be set to 0 and then paid by the minute or by SMS instead.

An interesting offer for many customers and I would not be surprised to see the number of mobile voice minutes not only declining in fixed line networks but also in mobile now as we are way beyond peak telephony by now.